or “How I Use SharePoint After Work Hours…”
In the past, I’ve written blogs on using SharePoint to improve and streamline business processes. Being my first blog of the New Year, I’m going to take a different route. I’m going to illustrate how I use SharePoint to sell records.
Hopefully, you have a passion that translates easily to the same process I follow here.
These aren’t your boring business records that get filed away in a dank storeroom, but 12” vinyl records that are lovingly placed on a turntable to produce the most pristine music. It’s not all that lucrative (after all, I’m still thankfully employed full time at Fpweb.net), but it’s a way to offset my compulsive, vinyl collecting habit. So basically, it’s a way to deplete my collection and make a few bucks to, of course, buy more records.
It’s only been a about a year that I converted my previous process (completely manual with pallets of sticky notes and various stacks of records throughout the house) to SharePoint. And it’s been wonderful. It has saved me many headaches and second-guessing.
And really, it wasn’t all that hard.
The Basics of Creating a SharePoint List to Sell Records
I created three lists:
- Records I plan to keep
- Records I am selling
- Records I have sold
One convenience is all three lists track the same data (records), so I only need to use one content type. So I created a Vinyl Record content type and associated that content type with all three lists.
Vinyl Records Content Type
Using one content type provides the following two advantages:
- If I add (or delete) a column, I only need to do it from the content type. The change propagates to the lists.
- By using uniform metadata, it makes moving a record from one list to another especially easy. And ultimately, the plan is to move records from the Selling list to the Sold list.
That’s it for the basics.
Recap: One content type associated to three different lists.
Using Good Judgment
I’m a good record seller. If you ask me, I’m the best.
Why? Because I listen to every record that I sell. It’s the only way to apply an accurate condition to a record. While I’m speaking on the topic of condition, let me clear up something. A record that is sealed is not Mint. The condition should be graded as Still Sealed. It’s not unheard of for a sealed record to have defects that are only apparent upon play. A skip, a warp, or just some badness in the printing process that left the record full of static and noise.
But I digress… Anyway, so after I listen to a record I have to first decide if I want to keep it or not. If I want to keep it, then it goes in the first list, My Vinyl Records.
After the record is added, it’s displayed in the list which is sorted by ID. The ID is a SharePoint field that is automatically populated. It guarantees uniqueness.
If it’s a record I may potentially sell or a popular record, I’ll write the ID on a sticky note and put it on the record jacket. This prevents me from getting my hundreds of Led Zeppelin IV copies confused with one another.
Or, if I have a record that I like but find a copy in better condition, I know which record to move from the My Records list to the Sell Records list. Of course, some musicians are off limits from being sold. All Iron Maiden, Alison Krauss, and Drive-By Truckers records that touch my hand are mine for good. Don’t question me…
If I listen to a record and I decide to sell it, it obviously gets put in the Vinyl Records for Sale list. Similarly, it is sorted by ID. Recently, I’ve realized I should always put a sticky note with the ID on any records waiting for sale. I haven’t in the past, and it has messed me up. So I’ve had to listen to U2’s Joshua Tree and Rattle & Hum albums several times to sort out the confusion. Which, depending on your viewpoint, could be a good or a bad thing.
Leveraging SharePoint Lists
By having the data in lists, it makes it really easy for me to find whatever information I need at that moment. For example, I own a copy of Steely Dan’s Aja. And occasionally I’ll get my hands on other copies. I know I want a pristine copy (the sonics in the production demand it), so when I listen to any new copies, I can do a search:
After easily locating the record, I view the details, and then compare the copy I own to the copy I’m listening to. I then make an informed decision on which one to keep.
There are other advantages to using SharePoint lists. I’ll get into those next time. There’s some workflows and tricks with InfoPath Form that makes this process even easier.
Tracking personal sales probably isn’t something you’d want to expose on your company’s primary SharePoint site. But you can do something similar in MySites, or purchase a low cost personal plan from Fpweb.net to track sales, or to maintain inventory of a beloved collection, or even keep track of valuables for insurance purposes.
The most important thing is getting the data into SharePoint. Once the data is in there, you can always manipulate the process as you discover new things or come up with new ideas to even further streamline the process.
Like I said, next time I’ll get into some more interesting stuff, but I hope you discovered that SharePoint can be quickly set up for small ideas and that it doesn’t have to be relegated to only the business world.
Up the Irons!